BUFFALO, NY – From the rainbow sidewalks painted on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Allen Street in June of this year, to a recent No Boundaries video on Allentown’s changing demographics making the rounds on social media, gentrification in queer spaces is a hot topic in Buffalo’s LGBTQ community. On Saturday, September 30, the Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project, along with co-sponsor Grindhaus Café, will provide a historical and national context for this discussion. by hosting a screening of the film Screaming Queens.
Directed by Victor Silverman and renowned trans activist Susan Stryker in 2005, Screaming Queens documents a 1966 riot by LGBTQ people of color against police brutality at Compton’s Cafeteria, San Francisco. This riot was the first of its kind, taking place three years before the Stonewall riots.
Following the film, the History Project will host a panel discussion about race, class, gentrification, and
LGBTQ spaces in Buffalo. Panel speakers will include Tinamarie and Denise Sweet, co-owners of
Sweets Lounge and co-founders of the Black Intelligent Ladies Alliance; Reggie Griggs, founder of All About Us; Sherrill Cooper, the former owner of MC Compton’s bar on Niagara Street; Emily Terrana, a community organizer for PUSH; Bridge Rauch, co-founder of No Labels Clothing Cooperative; and Seth Girod, from the Dreamland Collective.
The screening will begin at 6 p.m. at Grindhaus Café (160 Allen Street). The admission fee is a suggested donation of between $5 and $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
In San Francisco, a plaque commemorating the Compton’s Cafeteria riot was dedicated in 2006, and more commemorative projects are in the works. At a 2016 film screening, however, co-director Susan Stryker noted that these commemorative projects are being planned at the same time as those who once populated the cafeteria—transgender women of color—have been priced out of the neighborhood. Screaming Queens asks its audience: what does it mean to commemorate LGBTQ spaces in a gentrifying neighborhood? The panel discussion following the film will answer the question: how do we do better in Buffalo?
About the Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project: The Buffalo-Niagara LGBTQ History Project is a volunteer-run activist group focused on generational memory in Buffalo’s LGBTQ community. The History Project preserves the actively erased histories of all local LGBTQ community members. We conduct interviews, assist in donation of materials to the Dr. Madeline Davis LGBTQ Archives of Western New York, and otherwise document the legacies of LGBTQ Buffalonians of all races, genders, ages, and abilities, across the LGBTQ identity spectrum. We seek to bridge generational gaps and promote LGBTQ history outside of large cities. We believe knowing our histories will guide us to meaningful political action and encourage others to join us in the archives and the homes of our elders and peers.